In 2003, amazing new trilobites were found in Morocco with details of their anatomy preserved intact.
Fossils are usually flattened by the weight of deposited sediment above them as they lie on the sea floor after death, or by crushing of the rock formed from the sediment, during tectonic movement. In the case of these trilobites, however, the fossils show little or no distortion. As the delicate exoskeletons are complete, it is likely that this gentle burial followed an initial sudden engulfment that suffocated the trilobites.
Morocco has become one of the great sites for discovering new fossils. Notable among these are a range of unique Devonian trilobites from the Anti-Atlas mountains that exhibit some of the most bizarre adaptations of an already diverse group. Spiny animals are particularly spectacular. Some of these are now coming on to the open market at high prices, being much sought after by 'trophy' collectors.
Also see :
- Explore British trilobites in Earth Lab
- How fossils are formed in Fossil Folklore.
- The Museum book, Fossils: The Key to the Past is available from the online bookshop. Richard Fortey has also written Trilobite! Eyewitness to evolution (HarperCollins 2000).